If you’re struggling with debt, you’re not alone. Between student loans, credit cards, mortgages, medical bills, and more, a huge fraction of adults are struggling with debt in some form. While debt can be frustrating, it’s important to manage it in a way that doesn’t create extra stress. Here are some helpful tips for managing your debt without letting the stress get in the way of your daily life.
Be aware of how much you owe
It can be tempting to try to ignore your debt and put it out of your mind, but this can cause problems that will just lead to more stress. You should be aware of how much you owe at any given time, so you can plan ahead when making purchases. If you have debt from multiple creditors, keep a master list of all of your debts and update them as you pay them off. Keeping close track of your progress in this way will help you feel more in control.
Put together a payment calendar
Making your payments late will negatively affect your credit score and could even result in extra fees, which can make things even more stressful. A good way to mitigate this is to put together a payment calendar for every month. Keep track of not only when your bills are due, but also when you get paid so you can put aside the correct amount of money to make the payment. You should make sure you are paying at least the minimum payment every month as well.
Prioritize your debt
If you start to feel like you’re drowning in debt, a good way to feel more in control is to prioritize which debts you are going to pay off first. If you have anything in collections, start off with that to get creditors off your back. Then, focus on paying down the items with the highest interest rate. When you get in the habit of making regular payments and staying on top of things, it will get less stressful over time. You also may want to consider debt consolidation as a strategy. This is when you take out a loan to pay off all of your existing debts, and then you just have to worry about paying down that one loan. This can help you get a better interest rate on your debt in the long term, in many cases.
Find substitutes for the things you love to spend money on
Everyone has their financial vices, but if you take a hard look at your budget, you will probably be able to find some places where you can cut back. Start by cutting out things you know you can live without, like forgoing subscription services you barely use. Then think about cheaper substitutions for your expenses. For example, if you like to spend money on clothes, consider switching to thrift shopping, which is much less expensive. You can also learn how to make coffee or your favorite dishes at home if you like to go out for food. You can even try working out outside instead of a gym membership. With a little creativity, you can save a lot of money, and you can put that money back towards your debt payment.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone when you are struggling with debt. Sometimes financial challenges can seem like they are taking over your life, but you can still live a full and satisfying life even while you are paying off debt. Getting into the habit of regular payments on a schedule will make debt management less stressful over time.